Quinoa is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America and it's origins are truly ancient. It was one of the main staple foods of the Inca civilization. Quinoa was known then, and still is known, with respect, as the mother grain.
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, and is a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.
It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids which are typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine.
The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Quinoa is about 16% protein, compared with 7.5 % for rice, 9.9 % for millet, and 14 % for wheat.
It boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues.
Quinoa is gluten-free which makes it a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. It is light, tasty, and easy to digest - it is not sticky or heavy like most other grains. Many people eat grains only during the colder months, but quinoa's lightness combined with its versatility in cold dishes like salads and desserts makes it ideal source of good summertime nutrition.